Two Belgian organizations, DNAlytics and VIB, are collaborating to develop a data-driven, noninvasive screening test for the early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC). Under the terms of their agreement, DNAlytics will develop the test, known as the ColonoKit, based on research conducted by VIB, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, and its associated academic hospital, the Universitaire ziekenhuizen Leuven (UZ Leuven).
When colorectal cancer cells appear in the body, they secrete substances that trigger a response from peripheral blood monocytes. Researchers from VIB, KU Leuven, and UZ Leuven have identified 23 genes that play specific roles in this immune response that could serve as early biomarkers for CRC, and that will be incorporated into ColonoKit. To develop ColonoKit, DNAlytics will also use an online software platform derived from the company’s arthritis management tool, RheumaKit. This platform will complement the transcriptomic inputs of ColonoKit with a machine learning approach, potentially enabling the test to improve itself continuously based on a routine feedback loop.